GRANT. Volkan Sayin has received just over SEK 3 million from the Swedish Research Council’s call for proposals for international postdocs. He defended his thesis last year with a dissertation that showed that antioxidants increase lung cancer aggressiveness, a finding he will continue with as a postdoc in New York.
Can you describe the group you will be doing your postdoc with?
“I decided to do my postdoc with Dr. Thales Papagiannakopoulos’ group at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. As the group is new, I have the opportunity to design my workplace and learn how to establish a molecular medicine laboratory, something that will be extremely important after my postdoc.”
How did you come in contact with each other?
“We got to know each other rather randomly in Gothenburg, many years ago, only to later run into each other at a Cold Spring Harbor meeting where we discovered that we had similar scientific interests.”
What are you hoping to learn during your time with the group?
“The group’s expertise is lung cancer and the revolutionizing DNA editing tool CrispR-CAS9. I primarily want to master these tools to identify new drug targets in cancer. The research we conducted during my time as a doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy with Professors Per Lindahl and Martin Bergö showed that antioxidants accelerate lung cancer, and now I want to explore the other side of this concept for a potential cure. I want to test the hypothesis that lung cancer is dependent on its own production of antioxidants. I intend to wipe out the internal production of antioxidants in lung cancer with the help of CRISPR-CAS9 DNA editing tools.”
What is your main research question right now?
“To identify lung cancer’s achilles heel and to establish new cancer models in order to study the initiation, progression and metastasis of cancer.”
What will your future contact with Sahlgrenska Academy be like, once you leave and are you planning to eventually return?
I continue to have very good contact with my previous supervisor and the other mentors at Sahlgrenska Academy and will regularly return for collaborative purposes. The plan is to return to Sweden, to a strong research environment that fits my project portfolio and join an institution that provides the best possible support for young research directors.